Monday, October 8, 2007

the opposite of encouragement and a great movie

Frequent followers will remember that I am still in training for my job as a child welfare specialist with DHS. In a post a few weeks ago, I talked about how the training is somewhat depressing. At the least, it is the opposite of encouraging. I sit from 9-4:30, M-F, listening to stories of how crappy parents are, how crappy judges are, how horrible we are at our jobs, how many mistakes we will make, and how hopeless situations can be. I appreciate the reality check, however, is it necessary to hammer me with it for 5 weeks? (I guess the answer is probably. That way I figure out if I am cut out for this or not.)

Each day I sit through the lectures, I have an inner struggle of believing in myself. This job is full of opportunities. Opportunities to go crazy. To lose it. To ruin families. And to change lives. Make an impact. Be a role model. Be a teacher. Prove that there is hope for humanity. One minute I have no doubt I am meant to do this job. I know I can do and do it really well. The next minute, I am completely doubting myself and wondering if I should quit now and be a miserable secretary or discontented babysitter. Most days I think this is just a sign that I'm dealing with the fact that I have to be an adult and do a grown up job that makes no money and potentially reaps no rewards.

I have 7 days of training left. After that I am thrown into the world of a caseload and immediately start making decisions that affect the lives of children and families. I will have to be completely objective and leave my values and beliefs in the car as I walk up to a house where I will be greeted with distrust and confrontation. What a great challenge my job will be.

Okay, now that you too are depressed about my job, let's talk about a movie you need to see.

"The Kingdom." Some friends and I saw it last night. I wanted to see it because it looked like 24 meets Crash meets shoot-em-up. It looked intense, but not so much that I couldn't handle it. (I'm a wuss.) Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman are the FBI heroes that go to Saudi Arabia to help investigate terrorist attacks on American oil company workers and their families. It shows the deep roots and intensity of a Muslim culture. It shows how respecting a culture different than your own is beneficial when on their turf. It shows that not everyone in a labeled "bad guys" culture is bad. The team ends up working with and befriending a Saudi colonel. Anyway, the movie was heavy for me because it showed what life in like when your country is at war, whether it's within your country or with one across the ocean that has it's people in your country. I refuse to say at this point in my opinion, "I realized how lucky I am" or how "grateful I am to live in America." Instead, I sat there trying not to throw up and my heart breaking for a world that lives in a reality where war is even a possibility or a way of life. I cried knowing that the dream for the world is not to be at odds with each other and with an intensity that involves incredible violence. I cried because I know I participate in unconscious ways that perpetuate wars, whether it's between friends, countries, or the self.

I will admit I left the theater feeling unsafe and thinking about how paralyzing the mere threat of violence is. The national threat level is currently at "Elevated." While we continue to live our lives as "normal," I can't help but let my mind wander to the future when the reality will no longer be a threat, but will be in the streets outside my door. That may be days, months, years, decades. My hope for peace has to outweigh my fear of war or violence or whatever. I hope that I will now be more aware of ways I can participate and perpetuate peace instead of war.

That is also a huge responsibility.


live compassionately said...

Cara, I believe in you. I think you have the heart and strength to do this job. I am scared to death and I have no idea if I am even doing it yet - haha. I am scared for the same reasons. As I said though - I believe in you and I know you can do it :)

Amanda said...

i believe in you too!!!

shannon paige said...

Curiosity was far greater than our fear.
It felt so simple and so prodigious at the same time.

Incredible things are happening in the world.
Magical things are happening in this world.

Across the river there are all kinds of magical instruments.
While really we keep on living like monkeys.

Incredible things are happening in the world.
Magical things are happening in this world.

peng! 33, iron and wine

jessy burton said...

you're more than capable. believe in your abilities and it will better empower and enable others to believe in themselves.

i'm glad to know you, and i can't wait to read more about what social work is really like.

Nancy Lee said...

Hi again, Cara... I'm so happy to see you are continuing your training. Please don't give up! I believe your friends are right. You definitely seem to be the kind of person children need in the system! You have the youth and enthusiasm and energy to be part of changing a system that does too often fail children, but doesn't have to remain that way. As long as young people like yourself care enough to make a positive difference children can have hope. What you are probably learning most of in this training is that people are imperfect...make mistakes, don't always care as much as we wish they would, are quick to blame anyone rather than consider they may need to make changes themselves, and so forth! And sometimes, Cara, that's a tough one to deal with when you are still young, idealistic and struggling to know what to do with your own life. YOU give me hope! Thanks, Cara.
A Child Waits.
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

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